The first documented surfing wardrobe malfunction is attributed to an unlikely personality – Agatha Christie. Yes, the world’s best-selling mystery fiction writer happened to be a keen surfer. On one of her surfing trips with her husband, her surfing outfit she described as a “handsome silk bathing dress” got torn by the force of the waves.
Christie’s unfortunate event is just one of the many reasons there’s still a hot debate about whether female surfers should wear bikinis when surfing. The other reason is surfing and sexism, a topic that former WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt focused on during her time.
Whether it is to avoid wardrobe malfunction or simply want to express your persona, you are in the right place. This article speaks about the best surf bikinis, including topics like;
- What makes a good surf bikini
- Prominent women’s swimwear malfunction and tips
- Women surfers camera inequality
Table of Contents
What Makes a Good Surf Bikini?
A surf bikini is not like your regular beach bikini. It has to manage not rolling down past your butt checks at every duck dive. No boob should pop out. More importantly, it shouldn’t cause your neck to ache after surfing.
Save this dos and don’ts list as your reference for your next surf bikini shopping:
- Look for cross-back or racerback bikinis – they spread out the weight of your boobs across your back and shoulders while keeping your assets closer to your body.
- Wear crop-top style surf bikinis if you have big boobs – crop tops offer the best coverage and prevent overspilling out of the top. Even with no straps to tie, they won’t easily come undone when you stack
- Look for thick shoulder straps – these straps are comfortable on your shoulders. In addition, the larger your boobs, the wider your straps should be to disperse weight evenly
- Look for a wide hip band and drawstring – the wide hip band keeps your bikini bottoms from rolling down at every dive. Plus, drawstrings let you tighten your bottoms.
- Get a bikini with tighter bottoms – your new surf bikini will stretch like jeans along the way. If they don’t have drawstrings, you want them to be as tight around your hips as possible.
- Look for stick fabric – some fabrics grip your skin. Either that or look for bikinis with rubber added to the edges.
- Look for strong and thick materials – your best choices are spandex or nylon bikinis
- Look for bikinis that tie around your ribs – not clasp.
- Pick a halter neck bikini – when you paddle, you arch your back and pull your shoulders close together to keep your chest off the board. A halter neck will put contra forces on your neck. Not to mention the weight of your boobs that may put unnecessary strain on your body and cause neck and headaches.
- Wear a bikini with an underwire – the underwire can dig into your side and ribs when you paddle.
- Wear a strapless bikini – you don’t want to play peek-a-boo with your boobs.
- Wear a triangle bikini – they may move side to side or top to bottom.
- Wear a side-tie bikini – its thin ties roll down. Plus, when tied tight, it might cut into your skin.
The general rule is never to put fashion before function – particularly with fabric texture.
Top 8 Best Surf Bikinis Reviewed
Any female surfer needs to have a surf bikini that stays on – no slips, no slipping off, no sneaks. From paddling out to popping up, you would want to have your bikini staying put and still making you look cute.
Let’s narrow down your choices to the many surf bikinis in the market. Our list of the best surf bikinis goes:
- Nike Women’s Core Solids Sport Two Piece Surf Bikini
- Hurley Max Solid Scoop Bikini Top
- TYR Sport Women’s Solid Durafast Workout Surf Bikini
- Roxy Women’s Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottom
- Sensi Graves Alexa Eco-Friendly Stay Put Bikini Top
- KASSIA Surf San-O Surf Top
- Carve Designs Palisades Bikini Top
1. Nike Women’s Core Solids Sport Two Piece Surf Bikini
Nike is committed to bringing innovation to every athlete globally – with their shoes and apparel. This giant company is serious about every product it put out to the public. This includes the clothing they engineered for women in surfing.
The Nike Women’s Core Solids Sport Two Piece Surf Bikini is not the bikini for looking fancy and fashionable. It is for keeping the surfer cozy while feeling athletic. Wear it for swimming or surfing; it stays on and doesn’t roll up.
While most surfers debate about the best surfboard, other surfers, particularly women, have their most important question – what kind of active bikini to get. The answer is this pair of bikinis from Nike. This basic but elegant surf bikini is made of nylon and spandex, allowing quick drying and body fitting.
This surf bikini from Nike is our top pick because of its excellent shape retention and chlorine-resistant fabric and because they are sold as pairs. Sometimes, it’s too much to find a pair for a top or bottom you bought separately.
|Patented chlorine-resistant fabric||Sizing can be confusing|
|Comes in pair|
2. Hurley Max Solid Scoop Bikini Top
This brand that grew into a global youth culture has its roots deep in the beach lifestyle. Therefore, it is no surprise that it’s one of the best surf bikinis on the list. Hurley is a unique blend of style and performance and only uses the best materials appropriate for both in and out of the water.
Their Max Solid Scoop Bikini Top, when partnered with Quick Dry Ribbed Bikini Bottom, offers the best coverage with its generous fabric in the front.
Most of Hurley’s tops are perfect for surfing. The company is focused on giving sturdy and enough coverage, soft material, and strappy backs. These are all guaranteed to stay on as you surf while also providing sleek style.
The bikini bottoms are designed to show some cheeks but maintain position with the grippers, stopping them from riding up too much. Overall, this pair is perfect for taking that next wave and not worrying about slips.
|Lightweight but not too thin||Short life span|
|Made for peak performance|
3. TYR Sport Women’s Solid Durafast Workout Surf Bikini
Made of 100% polyester, the Durafast is one of the strongest surf bikinis on the market today. Tyr Sport’s swimwear, including this surf bikini, is fully lined and offers UPF 50+ sun protection while allowing you a 360-degree range of motion.
The Durafast is best for lady surfers who want reliable coverage for every surf. It features a moderate to entire coverage top and bottom, sleek straps, and an adjustable drawcord waist. Now, that’s one thing we crossed from the Do list above.
This surf bikini is designed with practicality in mind and is perfect for the surfer with a simple taste. Both top and bottom come in simple black, navy, and royal color options with no pattern but an excellent strappy design. This allows the wearer to mix and match it with other clothing pieces.
Professionals have tested the Durafast in professional and recreational events and have proven its advantage over other brands. In addition, these surf bikinis are made from TYR’s patented textile, Durafast One, which dries quickly and lasts for a long time.
|Lasts 20 times longer than other brands||Lacks support for the busty wearer|
|Flexible straps, and drawstring bottom|
|Includes lining for tops|
4. Roxy Women’s Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottom
Roxy doesn’t fail to release a bunch of super cute ranges for swimmers and surfers every year. But, among the many bikinis they release, their Women’s Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottom remains the female surfer’s favorite.
Great to pair with the Women’s Sea Waves Reversible Athletic Bikini Top, both come stylish and athletic at the same time. It wasn’t too revealing, and the comfort was just right.
You are guaranteed that this pair will not come off in the surf. The bottom’s wider cut allows for worry-free surfing. This means the bikini bottoms won’t ride up and stay on full coverage until the last wave surfed.
Overall, this surf bikini is fantastic in your closet, so if you need to surf, you can grab it and go.
|The simple design can match any tops||Very low rise, may not be suitable for people with booty|
|Thick but comfortable materials|
If you’re looking for the ultimate surfing bikini top that is both eco-friendly and stays put no matter the wave size, then you’ll love the Alexa Eco-Friendly Stay Put Bikini Top by Sensi Graves.
This top is a best-seller for Sensi Graves, given its unique design for women with larger busts who happen to have smaller rib cages. It features a cross back with multi straps, allowing for even support across the back. This swim bikini top does not include bra cups, which does not take away from the extreme support. It’s designed this way so the bust can fit comfortably anywhere on the top without any awkward bulges or lumps.
The Alexa Eco-Friendly Stay Put Bikini Top is made of ECONYL® regenerated nylon and includes an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+. With a 1” elastic on the underbust for even more support, you can be confident that this surf swim top isn’t going anywhere.
|Eco-friendly material||Explicitly designed for larger busts with smaller rib cages|
|Supportive for large busts|
|Adjustable cross back straps|
If you’re looking for the perfect supportive swim top that comes in soft, trendy colors, then you’ll love the San-O Surf Top by KASSIA+SURF. This gorgeous stay-in-place top comes in Dusty Lavender, Giza, and Sea Green and is made of ECONYL®, a sustainable techno-fabric.
KASSIA+SURF specializes in turning what was previously wasted into high-performance swimwear that is guaranteed to stay on while you surf. With a UV 30 rating on both top and bottoms (check out the Lowers Surf Bottom for the matching piece for this surf suit!), you can ensure that your skin is protected from harsh UV rays when spending a day in the sun.
|Eco-friendly material||Limited information on the website about how the top is constructed|
|Trendy, muted colors|
|UV 30 protection|
The Palisades Top by Carve Designs is the perfect swim top if you’re looking for a cross between a sports bra and a bikini top. And if we’re being honest, that sounds exactly like what we want for a day of water sports!
Carve Designs makes some of the most comfortable surf swimwear out there with their seamless, form-fitting, water-wicking, and wind-resistant material. Plus, the Palisades Top thoughtfully features its 1 mm neoprene-free insulating performance fabric to add a touch of extra warmth, making this the best surf bikini for many.
Pair this great surf bikini top with the Palisades Bottom, which is also explicitly meant for water sports like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, river rafting, kayaking, and sailing, plus biking, and cold-weather hiking and running. This top and bottom combination will give you a seriously supportive surf suit with all the essential elements to take on any water conditions!
|UPF 50+||None that we could find|
|Specifically designed for watersports|
|Water wicking and wind resistant|
|Thicker for extra warmth|
Prominent Women Surfer’s Swimwear Malfunctions and Tips
Aside from Agatha Christie, other respected women surfers have also encountered surf bikini mishaps at least once in their careers. Two of them share their experience to show women surfers that anything can happen with the wrong choice of surf bikini.
Fiona Wylde – Professional SUP Surfer
“The dreaded thought of losing a bikini top or bottom while surfing is a fear I think a lot of girls worry about, and rightfully so! Once I was surfing with my boyfriend’s dad, Norm, at an outer reef on Maui when I got pounded to the bottom. Normally I wouldn’t have had second thoughts, but when I popped up for air, something felt, well, shall I say very free?”
She learned the hard way how triangle-top bikinis should be avoided. And, better to have a surf buddy with a shirt for emergencies.
Annie Reickert – NSP Team Rider
“I decided early on that I didn’t want to spend my time and energy in the water worrying about losing my swimsuit. I have it pretty much down to a science at this point. I wear Pakaloha bikinis because they stay put!”
Good that she was aware early on that anything can happen in the water. Take her principles and think hard when deciding on a surf bikini.
Women Surfers Camera Inequality
When Sophie Goldschmidt became the WSL CEO in 2017, she ensured that strict sexual harassment guidelines govern the competitive surfers of the league. This decision came after sexual misconduct allegations involving surfing’s most prominent players.
Her idea was – no inappropriate jokes, no leering at colleagues or competitors, and gender equality in all parts of the operation.
These guidelines instructed all cinematographers to exercise discretion while shooting the women’s heats. Cinematographers must be careful not to zoom in on girls’ runs, especially during bottom turns or duck dives.
Female surfers in surf bikinis will have wider shots than those wearing boardshorts. The latter will be featured larger on the screen than those in skimpy swimwear.
A lot may happen once you cast off your board to the waters. The violent mix of the ocean, sand, leash, and board only needs one wipe to send your bikini dangling around your neck or, worst, sinking far down the waters.
While one-piece swimwear is still the most advisable, female surfers shouldn’t be deprived of wearing the swimwear they most feel comfortable and proud of. After all, surfing is riding the waves with character, so it’s just right that your surf attire reflects your persona.
Just make sure to pick the “safest” surf bikini. Whether riding the waves in New Zealand, surfing in the United States, or cruising through the British Virgin Islands, you must ensure that you’re protected.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What’s the difference between a surf bikini and a regular bikini?
A: Surf bikinis keep you clothed in many ways a regular bikini won’t. When surfing, you would want to focus on getting the waves and not worrying about having your top still on when you pop out from the waves. The ocean’s currents and waves are powerful, and going against it makes it twice as powerful to do something with your swimwear.
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G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.